Caltex Power Rankings: Bathurst International
The Shannons SpeedSeries had its work cut out to better last week’s performance at Race Sydney, but the first truly international Supercheap Auto Bathurst International gave it a red-hot Aussie crack.
There is plenty to unpack in this edition of the Caltex Power Rankings, so strap in, it’s a wild ride.
ABOUT THE RANKINGS: The TRT Power Rankings are compiled by your nominations from social media and edited by the TRT editorial team. They’re designed to give a balanced, as fair as possible critical overview of those things that excelled and those things that struggled, at each event. It’s (mostly) a democracy, and what you nominate generates the order, so have your say next event via our social media channels, @theracetorque on Facebook, Twitter and Insta. Look for the call out each evening and get commenting!
Highly entertaining, and probably would rate better in everyone’s reckoning if this meet didn’t follow a week after the pure madness of Sydney Motorsport Park. The race wins went to Santiago Urrutia, Norbert Michelisz and Yann Ehrlacher, who is now tied for the TCR World Tour series lead with Rob Huff, with Norbert Michelisz just one point in arrears. We get the feeling that a few people will tune into Stan Sport next weekend for the title decider in Macau.
2. TCR Australia Decider & Josh Buchan
It was a big battle to the finish in the local TCR ranks, with dramas resulting in a final race showdown between Hyundai teammates Bailey Sweeny and Josh Buchan. Bailey was set to cruise and collect the title, but turbo dramas in race two (see: NOT) saw the points battle seesaw, until he was finally classified as a non-finisher, gifting the upper hand to Buchan.
Aaron Cameron, who was in with a mathematical chance going into the finale, hit the Aussie lead with the bold move on the opening lap, but he dropped back after running wide through the Chase, before retiring under the safety car which was called to remove the expired sister Peugeot of Jordan Cox.
A one-lap run to the flag was set up and subsequently canned when Mikel Azcona fenced himself. Buchan put in a calculated performance to win the crown – he’s a worthy champion and be a great representative for TCR Downunder. Incredibly well-spoken, it’s very hard not to be a fan. It was a tough finish for his stablemate Sweeny, but his day will no doubt come after an outstanding season.
3. Trans Am Decider & James Moffat
Good grief, that had it all. From the start, second place man in the standings, Lochie Dalton was comprehensively fenced, while further carnage upstream earned a NOT nomination. Following the safety car to clear the mess, smoke billowed from race leader James Moffat, who only needed to finish the race to claim the title following his earlier race wins to claim the title. With Dalton now in the box seat, swift work by the GRM crew saw Moff return to the circuit a lap down. Another massive oil down at Murray’s Corner sent cars flying off in every direction, with the race ending under another safety car. Moff claimed his first national crown, and the stress levels could not have possibly been any higher. The emotion in victory lane was genuine.
4. Porsche Sprint Challenge
More high-quality action to round out a brilliant season. Nobody could touch Nash Morris, who claimed three wins as the TelkworkX Motorsport crew came to the fore. In the final standings, Marco Giltrap secured the overall Pro crown, Sam Shahin Pro-Am and Phil Morriss Class B.
5. Production Cars and Friends
Any time you have a grid of 40+ cars, it will be a HOT. In the GT4 ranks, local hot shoe Tim Leahey was unbeatable in his brand spanking new BMW M4, while Iain Sherrin was the top scorer in the outright Proddie class.
6. Touring Car Masters
Great to watch, especially with the New Zealand visitors bolstering the fields. There were plenty of highlights, but the cherry on top may have been John Bowe heading home Cameron Tilley’s Pacer by only 0.1sec for third at the race two chequered flag. Marcus Zukanovic was the class of the field, claiming the opening two race wins before being pipped by Ryan Hansford in race three. Bowe meanwhile claimed his seven millionth career victory in the Trophy Race, before his final full-time TCM steer on the streets of Adelaide.
7. V8 Touring Cars
It was a Cameron McLeod benefit in the early races, with the spice cranked up to 10 for the finale when the young gun stalled grid position one when the lights went out, while he was also pinged 5sec for a jump start. McLeod charged through the field and took the on-track lead on lap six of nine after a ripping battle with new series champion Jude Bargwanna. All told, despite starting a long last, McLeod overcame his additional penalty to score the win and sweep the weekend for five V8 Bathurst race wins in the past month and a bit. Sign him up.
8. Tony D’Alberto
The new Honda seemed right at home on The Mountain, with Tony maximising its performance to claim pole. He was swamped off the dirty side of the road when the lights went out, but held steady to claim third.
9. Aaron Cameron
P2 in the second race shows that his SMP weekend in the unloved old Peugeot was no fluke.
10. Open Wheel Demo
Cool mix to see taking to the Mountain. How could you not love old-school F1?
The various titles under the SpeedSeries banner genuinely mean something in 2023.
TCR World Tour Drivers are just like the rest of us…
…when we roll into Bathurst for the first time ever.
Can talk, and will probably put some professional talking heads out of a gig sometime soon. A great commentary find.
Roadtrip from SMP to Bathurst
Fun mid-broadcast content.
Circuit to City
This is an excellent initiative that continues to raise awareness of the event throughout Bathurst City. It’s just a shame that the weather didn’t necessarily come to the parts, see: Not.
TCR World Tour going strong in 2024
Putting massive sauce on the podium presentations announcements throughout the weekend
Possibly the most competitive sport from the entire event.
1. Mikel Azcona’s Race Three Crash
The brain explosion emoji utilisation in this tweet is bang on. Mikel blamed a steering issue; the onboard footage denoted a lack of steering input from the driver as he ploughed into the fence. This act of driving into the fence under the safety car robbed the world of a one-lap race to the chequered flag with two titles on the line and everything to play for. It was a massively disappointing to end two brilliant weeks. Hard, hard not.
2. Production Car Crash
Tough to watch. Dean Campbell was sent to hospital for a couple of nights after he wore the fence on the top of The Mountain at the end Saturday’s proceedings. Challenging for the A1 Class title, the trusty old Mitsubishi EVO X was like a fine wine, putting in some big performances in recent times. The car was for sale, with a new rig currently being built for 2024. Sending out good vibes to Dean on a speedy recovery.
3. Trans Am Race 3 Start
Firstly, Elliot Barbour was the victim of an opening turn wad-up, while a little up the road, title challenger Lochie Dalton found the Griffins Bend fence following contact from Edan Thornburrow, who subsequently tangled with Cody Gillis. Messy.
4. Bailey Sweeny
He was set to claim the title until this hiccup in race two ultimately saw the Hyundai classified as a non-finisher. Incredibly tough break after a brilliant season.
5. Brad Tilley Crash
Spectacularly crashed his Mustang at the end of Touring Car Masters race one, which saw Brad sent to hospital. Once again, we wish him a speedy recovery.
6. V8 Touring Car Pile Up
Ten went in, seven came out. A far, far from ideal start to the Sunday morning race.
7. Grice’s Saturday/Anderson/Barber Shunt
Benny Grice had a thoroughly wild Saturday, which would typically be HOT, but sadly ended in a hard NOT when he came across Josh Anderson broadside across the circuit at The Cutting, with Elliot Barber collateral damage in the stack, with his championship hopes crabbing away from the scene in tatters.
8. Porsche Biffo
Some wild stuff put an un-smiley face on the Sprint Challenge proceedings.
9. Josh Thomas Shunt
Prematurely ended Trans Am race two, with no points subsequently being awarded.
10. Mikel Azcona’s Opening Race Safety Car
Costly failure in the opener, and Mikel’s second appearance in these rankings. Perhaps we are unkind not to bundle the pair together in a rare Super-Not. But here we are…
Santiago Urrutia finds the fence from 2nd in TCR Race 3
Ben Dunn Shunt
In the fence on the approach to the Dipper in the finale. A sad end to his return weekend.
Will Brown Failure
We’ve been there before with this Audi this year, which suffered a race two driveshaft failure… End result: out for the weekend.
Ben Bargwanna’s Saturday
Nothing has gone right since claiming pole at SMP. A blown radiator in the opener and an overnight engine change set the scene for the weekend.
Andrew Fisher Moment
Wild scenes when the rear suspension broke on the way to the Elbow – excellent driving saw the car saved from finding the walls.
TCR Grid Penalty
Will Harris Out Hurt
A shoulder issue from earlier in the year saw the TCR newcomer sit out the season finale.
TV graphics leaderboard updating only once per lap
Frustrating for those at home.
It seemingly wouldn’t be Bathurst without it…
It kind of buggered up one of the highlights of the weekend.
So many flies.
Vegemite sure puts Tim Tams into perspective
Further World Tour Bants
The Editor Having to Film his own Race
What does their transporter say?
All in the feels
TCR Race Three Finish. We’re not mad, just disappointed.